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Maryland Divorce Legal Crier

News and comments about divorce, child support, child custody, alimony, equitable property distribution, father’s rights, mother’s rights, family law, laws on divorce and other legal information in Maryland.

Archive for April, 2011

Belly Dancing Reduces Alimony

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Several years ago a New York judge ordered Brian McGurk to pay his wife, Dorothy McGurk, $850 a month in lifetime alimony and gave her the marital residence because of her disability.

Recently Brian saw an entry on her blog that she was now belly dancing.  Furious, he took her back to court.

Dorothy claimed that her doctor had prescribed belly dancing as therapy for her injuries in a 1997 car accident.  The doctor however did not support that claim in court.

The judge reduced alimony to $400 a month, ordered her to pay her husband’s attorney fees of $5,000 and to give him 60% of the proceeds from the sale of the house.

As Shakira says, “Hips Don’t Lie”.

New Maryland Divorce Grounds

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Grounds for absolute divorce are changing again in Maryland on October 1, 2011, once the Governor signs Senate Bill 139 into law, amending Section 7-103 of the Family Law Article of the Maryland Code.

Until then, Maryland has two “no-fault” grounds, namely one year voluntary separation and two year’s involuntary separation.  This is the same as grounds in the District of Columbia and similar to Virginia.

The original bill would have changed that to six months voluntary separation and one year involuntary separation.

Instead, the General Assembly decided to do away with voluntary separation altogether and change the separation period for an involuntary separation to one year.  This means you no longer have to prove and corroborate, with an agreement or third party, that the separation was mutual and voluntary.

Heather Sunderman’s take on the new law’s impact.

Divorce: There’s an App for That

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Now iTunes has an app for your divorce.  “Divorce?” is only available now in England and Wales and costs 9.99 pounds (about $16.00).  It says it is a comprehensive guide to your legal rights when you want a divorce.

The screen shots show these categories:

  • Read this First
  • Applying for Divorce
  • The Children
  • The Financial Issues
  • Choose Lawyer
  • Budget

One reviewer writes, “I really like the chatty, informative and non legalese way this has been written.”

Efficient Legal Services

Monday, April 11th, 2011

Some lawyers never use one word when two or more will do.  Since the Norman Invasion of England, lawyers have used words of French and English roots to say the same thing, like “sell and convey”.

But it takes much more skill to condense than to ramble on.  The president of a company I worked for asked for an employment agreement from me and another lawyer.  He told me he selected the other lawyer’s agreement because it was 48 pages long and mine was 8 pages long.  I think he was paying for inefficiency, but I don’t blame him.  He is not a lawyer so he couldn’t tell the quality of the work.  He could only judge by its length.

I have encountered this issue many times in the practice of law, one lawyer’s 40 page contract to sell the assets of a business vs my one page bill of sale, one lawyer’s 30 page protective order vs my 2.5 page one, one lawyer’s 28 page motion vs my one page response, and one lawyer’s four page letters vs my one sentence reply.

So if you’re my client, and you want me to send 76 document requests because the other side sent 75, I’ll do it because you think it’s better and the client is always right.  The truth is, however, that’s it’s easy to push a button on the wordprocessor.  It is much harder, and more efficient, to think about the case, and ask for what you need to prove your case.

Happy April Fool’s Day

Friday, April 1st, 2011

“This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four.” — Mark Twain

 
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